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The Vegetarian Movement Grows Among Teens

Seems a bit of peer pressure may be at work when many teens decide to become a vegetarian, according to this interesting Washington Post piece. Even more interesting is a reluctance by some parents to exert little influence on their child's decision.

The anecdotal evidence offered in the story strongly suggests teens are often persuaded by others, namely friends with whom they go to school, to make the switch to vegetarianism (or, at least, limiting the red meat they do eat), even some school cafeterias are offering vegetarian meal options.

And, apparently, the numbers bear this out, as an estimated 6 percent of American kids (ages 6-17) don't eat meat and 2 percent avoid chicken and fish too. Although I greatly respect a patient's decision to choose which foods they will and won't eat, I've found many vegetarians to be chronically sick because they weren't getting some very essential nutrients -- among them vitamin B-12 -- only available in animal-based foods.

Following a strict vegetarian diet isn't healthy at all for about two-thirds of you, based on your body's unique nutritional type. This much larger group requires regular amounts of animal-based protein to achieve and maintain their optimal health.

Washington Post October 31, 2006